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Tuesday, July 02, 2002
Multimedia standard defined by consortium

Hitachi, Matsushita Electric (Panasonic), Philips, Silicon Image, Sony, Thomson Multimedia and Toshiba have announced their draft specification for a next-generation consumer electronics (CE) digital interface...

The high definition multimedia interface (HDMI) specification combines high-definition video and multi-channel audio in a single digital interface with a bandwidth of up to 5Gbit/s. Draft version 0.9 of the spec is ready, integrating audio by using auxiliary packetised data transfer technology. Designed for consumer devices, the 15mm, 19-pin HDMI interface incorporates high-bandwidth digital content protection (HDCP).

Benefits of the HDMI standard would include uncompressed digital quality, fewer cables and a small, user-friendly connector, the companies said. HDMI builds upon digital visual interface (DVI), a digital interface technology popular in the PC realm.

"HDMI offers a viable and attractive solution to the current HDTV stalemate," said Wanda Meloni, president of M2 Research. "HDMI is the first video and audio standard to amass support from the entire CE value chain, from content providers to system operators to CE manufacturers. Consumers have been eagerly awaiting more compelling high-definition content, and HDMI should unlock the floodgate. The pace at which the HDMI founders have reached this milestone is encouraging to all those with a vested interest in the success of HDTV."

The founding companies first announced the working group and HDMI spec in April. The companies said the initiative has already met with broad industry support from major motion picture producers Fox and Universal, satellite companies DIRECTV and EchoStar, cable companies and consumer electronics manufacturers.

Version 0.9 of the specification is available under a specification review agreement, allowing review of the draft before finalisation of v1.0 of the specification.

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